Ask the Ump

Ask The Ump Special Feature Locked In: The Plate Mechanic Myth By Roland Wiederaenders

Publisher’s Note: CBP reprises this article, originally appearing in the Winter 2004 edition of “Officials’ Quarterly,” for it’s common sense approach to umpiring behind home plate, particularly working at the youth league level. The skills, mechanics and philosophy the author discusses are timeless and thus relevant to game applications today. At the time of its first publication, the article’s merits springs from the author’s extensive and impressive umpiring resume which included recreation, scholastic, and college level competition, including Texas Class 3A and 4A high school games for the Southwest Officials Association, national AAU Championship games in Florida, and successful completion of the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring in 1997. As explained in OQ, Mr. Wiederaenders’ seeks the truth while exposing the myths regarding the various plate mechanics that an umpire needs to master in order to effectively call a game. He handles with class and professionalism discrepancies between Jon Bible’s advice to college level umpires and his own maxims to novice umpires at lower levels. Likewise, CBP strives, through its Ask The Ump features, for common sense approaches to umpiring youth leagues games and tournaments in the 21st century’s growing obsession with travel team events and venues. Editorial… Continue reading

Ask The Ump Special Feature The Definitive Case for Preventive Officiating

Most veteran, youth league umpires know the importance of preventive officiating. Many of us learned this in mechanics clinics taught by college level or minor league umpires. Others of us have learned the concept in our state association and annual rules interpretation meetings. Anyone who has worked with or around kids for any appreciable length of time practically understands it instinctively. So why do we so frequently see adults who should know better, particularly sports officials, overreacting at youth sports events?


From the disgruntled coach obsessed with winning to the tunnel vision grandparent with no clue about baseball rules to headstrong sports officials who think the game is about them, youth sports suffers from an unprecedented onslaught of in-your-face antics and incendiary verbiage…from adults.

The Problem with Youth Sports (Courtesy of )


Nowhere does this become more apparent than when it concerns out-of-control sports officials. Such was the case at a 16u tournament semifinal that I observed on October 27, 2013. A well-known weekend tournament in northeastern Pennsylvania provided the venue for an all-too-familiar confrontation between a home plate umpire and travel team coaches, which led to two ejections, an unholy stream of invective from parents, and… Continue reading

How to treat an Umpire

 Umpires are the policemen of baseball. Their purpose is to enforce the rules of the game and keep all matters of the game fair. However they are aren’t perfect and sometimes you’ll encounter an umpire who has a wicked temper or hot streak.


An Umpire (Courtesy of

County Baseball Publications founder Joseph Nardini has been an umpire for many years. Joe is not a quick tempered umpire by any means. He allows the game to maintain it’s natural flow. I’ve learned many approaches from Joe when it comes to dealing with umpires. Here are some of the do’s and don’t of handling umpires….


DO: SHOW RESPECT Umpires are students of the game and try hard not to screw up calls. It’s their job to get calls right. Sometimes they will miss the calls and it can get frustrating. However whining and complaining about it to the umpire’s face is not going to change anything. There is no instant replay in high school baseball. The call will stand as is. Managers should show respect towards these men and women who are just doing their jobs.


DO: START A CONVERSATION; NOT A CONFRONTATION Umpires are not impersonal… Continue reading

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